*This is the first of a monthly series on Intuitive Eating, be sure to check back for more*
I started dieting in the eighth grade. By the end of my ninth grade year I was clinically diagnosable for anorexia. In those days I could have made a career out of avoiding food.
I was an expert at hiding. Hiding how little I was eating and how much I was hurting from family and friends was my lifestyle of choice.
I didn’t know another way.
I got married at 23. While my husband knew that I had issues with food he had no idea the extent of it. Honestly, I didn’t either.
I quickly learned that hiding in marriage was much harder to do. I felt exposed in the worst ways possible. To my horror, I started binge eating any time I was alone. I couldn’t understand why I could have been so disciplined with food in the past and so uncontrollable in the present. I hated my body. I hated the way my self loathing impacted my marriage and relationships.
I didn’t know another way.
About six months into our marriage, when I felt as though I had hit rock bottom, I started counseling. It was in that room that my counselor told me an eating disorder is not about food. I thought my counselor was downright crazy, or, at the very least, misjudged my situation.
Despite my hesitations, I continued down the path she was leading me on. I discovered deep emotional harm that I had been carrying for years. I began to look at the ways I was using food, both restricting and binging, as a way to cope with that harm.
I was learning another way.
After some time of sitting in uncomfortable emotions, my counselor recommended a book to me called Intuitive Eating. I read the book entire book in three days.
There were some miraculous things that happened after reading this book: 1) I stopped counting calories (I’d been counting calories every day of my life for over a decade) and 2) I stopped weighing myself (I had been weighing myself multiple times a day). Did my issues with food magically go away? Heck no. But I began a journey that has drastically changed my life.
Intuitive Eating taught me and is teaching me still that I CAN TRUST MY BODY. I can love my body no matter the shape or size. On top of that, I can truly enjoy food!
I don’t know who you follow on social media or what books, magazines, or news articles you read. If you are living in America this week there is a good chance you have been inundated with messages about diet culture. In the early days of January it can be hard to escape the false belief that you are just one diet away from a happier life.
Would you be open to choosing another way?
From February to November I will be blogging on the ten principles of Intuitive Eating. In December I will share what it looks like to raise an Intuitive Eater (a newfound passion of mine!). If you’ve struggled with food or body image in any way, I encourage you to join me this year as we explore what it means to truly make peace with your body and food.
Another way is possible.
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